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Dell Studio 14z 14-inch Thin and Light Laptop PC

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Dell Studio 14z 14-inch Thin and Light Laptop PC

Dell Studio 14z

©Dell Inc.

The Bottom Line

Nov 9 2009 - Dell's Studio 14z is a valiant attempt at making a more compact 14-inch laptop computer systems. It certainly is affordable in the low configurations but the system just has to sacrifice too many features for its reduced size. Removal of items such as the DVD burner and a multi-format card reader really reduce the potential uses of the system. With the tested price of $850, just a little more money can get the users a bit more in terms of performance and features in a 13-inch laptop that is more portable.
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  • More Compact Design
  • Good Battery Life
  • Very Colorful LED Backlit Display


  • No DVD Burner Included
  • Integrated Graphics
  • 802.11n Wireless Support Not Standard


  • Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 Dual Core Mobile Processor
  • 3GB PC3-8500 DDR3 Memory
  • 320GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
  • 14" WXGA (1366x768) LED Backlit Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
  • NVIDIA GeForce 9400M Integrated Graphics
  • Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g Wireless
  • Three USB 2.0, eSATA, FireWire, DisplayPort, HDMI, ExpressCard/34
  • 13.2" x 9" x 1.2" @ 4.3 lbs.
  • Windows 7 Home Premium, Works, McAfee Security Center

Guide Review - Dell Studio 14z 14-inch Thin and Light Laptop PC

Nov 9 2009 - Dell's Studio 14z is their latest entry into the thin laptop market with a much thinner overall profile than their previous consumer 14-inch laptops such as the Inspiron 14. They were able to keep the thickness down the 1.2-inches which provides the system with a very slim profile and keep the weight down compared to many other 14-inch laptops. They had to make a number of sacrifices in features to do this however that I will touch on later.

In terms of performance, the Studio 14z does fairly well thanks to the Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 dual core processor. The system comes with a somewhat unusual 3GB DDR3 memory configuration that can be upgraded to 5GB. This is because the system uses a single DIMM slot and has 1GB built-in. A bit disappointing when many new DDR3 systems can potentially be upgraded to 8GB.

What will disappoint many is the storage features. Dell has sacrificed an internal DVD burner and built-in memory card reader in order to keep the size and cost of the Studio 14z down. Users do have the option of purchasing both of these as upgrades when ordering the system but it adds to the cost and the weight of the system if they are carried frequently.

Graphics have also suffered somewhat on the Studio 14z. Rather than using a dedicated graphics processor, Dell has elected to use the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics. This is one of the better integrated solutions that provides enough performance for light gaming and high definition video playback but it does limit the system's potential compared to larger systems with dedicated options. At least the 14-inch LED backlit display is one of the better on the market with a good level of color and wide viewing angles.

Dell claims that the Studio 14z can achieve over six hours of battery life with the 8-cell battery. Most of the configurations come with the 6-cell battery which means that it won't last that long. Video playback through an external DVD player or video streaming will net the system just under four hours of running time. Typical usage will provide closer to four and a half to five hours. This is still above the average for most 14-inch laptops.

Consumers have a wide variety of customization options on the Studio 14z which allow users to upgrade the processor, memory, hard drive, display, external optical drives, wireless networking and even the color. The downside is that some of these upgrades are almost mandatory increasing the cost of the Studio 14z. With an external DVD and card reader, the price climes to near $900 which places it only slightly lower than an Apple MacBook that offers more performance in a smaller package. Because of this, it is much better suited as a low cost, highly portable system for those that don't need high speed wireless, built-in card reader or DVD drive.

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